Thanksgiving feast - provided by

While I’m here in the States being thankful for my many blessings this Thanksgiving, my husband will be on his way back “home” to spend a week in Ireland. Thanksgiving dinner at our house will be a smaller affair this year. My daughter is having her first Thanksgiving away from home, seated at a table I’ve never seen, in her L.A. apartment. That leaves just me and my two sons – and my husband – if we manage to have our feast on the table before the taxi comes to bring him to O’Hare Airport for his journey across the pond!

Declan is happy to be going to Ireland, or perhaps, just to be enjoying a few days off work! Although it would be great to be going along, I can’t begrudge him this short trip on his own after Eoin and I were able to enjoy so many weeks in Kilkee last summer. The main reason for this visit is to batten down the hatches at Teach deBúrca and to see to it that the fuel tank is filled with sufficient oil to keep our West Clare cottage snug enough throughout the winter months to keep dampness out and the water pipes from freezing. After last year’s unusually cold weather we are even more determined to make sure the cottage stays warm and dry. Also while there, Declan is looking forward to inspecting our two outbuildings, which he expects to be standing proudly beneath newly installed roof cladding. Like the drainage ditches we put around the perimeter of the property last summer, the roofs are a necessity if we want to keep these rustic old relics intact.

When Declan arrives at Teach deBúrca, it will be his first time crossing the threshold through our lovely, new, red half-door, which was not installed until after his departure last summer! Now that I’m thinking of it, perhaps I should supply him with written instructions for mastering the art of locking and unlocking the door. Also upon arrival he will, hopefully, be able to give me the good news that our Belfast sink is still sitting where I left it in August, despite the warnings I was given against leaving such a coveted item on display.

It will be far quieter in Kilkee this time of year, with many of the shops closed for the winter. Kilkee is bustling at the height of the summer holiday season but during the winter months it is a sleepy village inhabited only by locals who are not as inclined to spend their time and money enjoying a lot of breakfasts at The Pantry, pricey but delicious dinners at Murphy Black’s or lovely seafood feasts at Naughton’s Bar. And, though Diamond Rock’s Cafe will still be open on the weekends, it will probably be too cold to have tea or a morning mocha on the outdoor patio. I do hope the weather is mild enough for Declan to be able to walk safely along the cliffs or at least allow him to wander for a time around the Pollock Holes. However, with such a short stay, seeing to the concerns of the cottage will leave little time for much else. For instance, on top of having the oil delivered and ‘battening down of hatches’, I am hoping Declan will manage to get over to Kilrush or Ennis to buy a new, electric stove top to replace the gas stove that came with the house, but was not properly installed for safe use. This will enable me to prepare meals next time I’m there, using the lovely new cookware I am stashing in Declan’s luggage! Teach deBúrca will be more of a home with a working stove and hot meals enjoyed at our kitchen table …

… which brings me back to Thanksgiving dinner and the fact that it is already the end of November and I have taken such a long break from writing in this blog! I can’t explain my absence except to say that I’ve been pulled in many directions since returning to the suburbs of Chicago. The lazy days of a summer spent in Kilkee seem so far away… walks along spectacular cliffs, drives through the foggy mists of Loop Head, braying donkeys in the night, holy wells and abbey ruins, waves crashing against the rocks and upon the sandy shoreline, the daily navigation of potholes dotting the long, narrow gravel road that leads to our cottage, bright orange starfish in the tide pools… such a different world from life in the suburbs. I suppose it has taken me awhile to readjust and to begin to recapture the ability to exist in the two worlds at the same time.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

A different world.